Amidst reports of the prices of rice moving northwards, the State government says it is monitoring the situation closely and making every effort to ensure that the common man is not affected.
The administration is viewing the movement of prices on a daily basis. Quoting a comparative statement of the prices of different varieties of rice, the official says while the price of the Ponni variety has now risen by Rs. 6 –Rs. 8 per kg, the prices of others have increased by Rs. 2 to Rs. 3.
Varieties of rice, including Ponni, are available at reasonable prices at ‘Kamadhenu’ and ‘Amudham,’ retail outlets of TUCS (Triplicane Urban Cooperative Society) and the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation. Suspecting that certain sections in the private trade may be responsible for artificially hiking the prices, the official notes that there is no basis for attributing the price rise to the current status of southwest monsoon. The previous year witnessed a bumper crop.
S. Ranganathan, general secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association, echoing the view of the official, says the harvest of the Samba crop is completed and farmers sell their produce either to the local trade or the Civil Supplies Corporation. As the current period is off-season, no farmer keeps any stock of paddy till now.
Paddy (rice) is raised through two crops – Kuruvai and Samba. The sowing of the short-term Kuruvai crop begins in the middle of June and harvesting by September-end, while the long-term Samba crop covers the period from July-end till December or January middle.
It is during Samba that the Ponni variety is raised. It is due to these factors the kharif marketing season – the procurement of the produce – begins in October.
The State has about six months’ stock of rice meant for the public distribution system. As on date, about five lakh tonnes are available with the authorities. Besides, three lakh tonnes are in the pipeline. In addition, the Food Corporation of India has a stock of eight lakh tonnes.
On an average, the monthly requirement is about 3.15 lakh tonnes. A perusal of the statement of allocation and drawal of rice by districts in the last three months reveals that on an average, about 80 per cent of allocated rice was supplied to eligible cardholders, numbering 1.85 crore. Of the allocation of around 3.15 lakh tonnes a month, a quantity of 2.48 lakh tonnes is drawn by cardholders every month.
Keywords: rice price